Racial/ethnic Disparities in Hypertension Prevalence: Reconsidering the Role of Chronic Stress
Hicken, Margaret, Hedwig Lee, Jeffrey Morenoff, James S. House, and David R. Williams. 2019. "Racial/ethnic Disparities in Hypertension Prevalence: Reconsidering the Role of Chronic Stress." In Community Health Equity: A Chicago Reader edited by Fernando De Maio, Raj C. Shah, MD, John Mazzeo, David A. Ansell, MD. University of Chicago Press.
Using data from the Chicago Community Adult Health Study, we investigated the association between anticipatory stress, also known as racism-related vigilance, and hypertension prevalence in Black, Hispanic, and White adults. We regressed hypertension prevalence on the interaction between race/ethnicity and vigilance in logit models and found that Blacks reported the highest vigilance levels. For Blacks, each unit increase in vigilance was associated with a 4% increase in the odds of hypertension. Hispanics showed a similar but nonsignificant association, and Whites showed no association. We conclude that vigilance may represent a significant source of chronic stress that contributes to the higher prevalence of hypertension among Blacks than Whites, and possibly to hypertension among Hispanics.